Petros ready to shoulder the load

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With the 2014 college basketball season quickly approaching, Corey Petros has been hard at work this offseason readying himself for his final round. The senior, as well as new captain for this season, said he’s ready for the challenge.

“I like the pressure, I’ve always had pressure on me for some reason. I’m following a long line of good leaders,” Petros said.

Those leaders include Keith Benson, Reggie Hamilton and Travis Bader, all of whom were nationally recognized players.

Petros, a redshirt senior, will be leaned on heavily as one of the top centers in the Horizon League. He has improved his strength and free throws in preparation for this year.

This should help, considering Petros’s best free-throw shooting season was only 56 percent from the line. Any improvement will pay dividends, especially with the increased competition of the Horizon League.

Coming out of high school, ESPN had Petros graded as an 84. At that time, he was one of the better prospects to come to Oakland. According to ESPN, Petros was also considering Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan and Detroit before choosing Oakland.

“They recruited me pretty hard, they went to every single one of my AAU games, they always made me feel like they were really interested. They made me feel at home,” Petros said of Oakland’s recruiting tactics.

Petros said that Oakland’s proximity to his home, Sterling Heights, played a big role in the decision.

“It was close to home, I can always get a home-cooked meal. That was always nice,” Petros said.

He also said that the coaches were pivotal in his decision. He said he loves the coaches that are here and that he saw how they developed Keith Benson, also a center, into one of the better players in the country.

“He [Kampe] always had good bigs here, so that played a role in the decision,” Petros said.

Since coming to OU, Petros has spent most of his career as the starting center and has played in some very exciting games.

“My first year playing against Tennessee, beating them against a sellout crowd was probably the best moment,” Petros said.

His pregame routine is pretty vanilla. Petros said he likes to take a nap before the game and then walk over to the O’rena while listening to music. He spends some time in the hot tub to loosen up.

“Nothing too weird or superstitious,” he said.

Grizz Gang leader Brittany Hall said the group hasn’t made up any chants for Petros since he became captain.

“No cheers yet, but we’ll be working on that as the season starts,” Hall said.

She expressed her excitement for what Petros is going to bring to this season.

“He looks a lot stronger and more confident,” Hall said. “The team is on his shoulders this year, we definitely couldn’t say that last year.”